This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The traditional theory of emanation

The only way to grasp the significance of the ascending emergence of species is to approach the problem through the traditional cosmology and the concept of the progressive solidification of the corporeal state. This process is most effectively described by Titus Burckhardt:

This solidification must obviously not be taken to imply that the stones of the earliest ages were soft, for this would be tantamount to saying that certain physical qualities— and in particular hardness and density—were then wanting; what has hardened and become fixed with time is the corporeal state taken as a whole, with the result that it no longer receives directly the imprint of subtle forms. Assuredly, it cannot become detached from the subtle state, which is its ontological root and which dominates it entirely, but the relationship between the two states of existence no longer has the creative character that it possessed at the origin; it is as when a fruit, having reached maturity, becomes surrounded by an ever harder husk and ceases to absorb the sap of the tree. In a cyclic phase in which corporeal existence had not yet reached this degree of solidification, a new specific form could manifest itself directly from the starting-point of its first “condensation” in the subtle or animic state; this means that the different types of animals pre-existed at the level immediately superior to the corporeal world as non-spatial forms, but nevertheless clothed in a certain “matter”, namely that of the subtle world. From there these forms “descended” into the corporeal state each time the latter was ready to receive them; this “descent” had the nature of a sudden coagulation and hence also the nature of a limitation and fragmentation of the original animic form.[1]

In simplest terms, the animal forms that appear in the fossil records always existed even before they appears but manifestation had not reached a degree of solidification that would cause them to ‘condense’ in such a way as to emerge from the subtle and into gross manifestation: that is to say, they would have been there and been composed of matter but not of the matter of the subtle order, which is the order immediately superior to gross or corporeal manifestation.

We could compare the process to the fatty elements of a broth which remain liquid at a warm temperatures but, as temperatures drop, they begin to congeal and ‘emerge’ as they separate from the liquid. This is a change of state and although the substance was present all along it was not discernable because it belonged to a different state. This analogy helps illustrate the cosmological ‘solidification’ that results in ‘appearances’ at different stages in the solidification process. The weakness of the analogy, which is in fact an important one, is that in the case of the fatty substance it could be envisioned as ‘dispersed’ and intermingled with the other elements of the liquid and so not really existing in pure and complete form until solidified: in the case of cosmological solidification, this is of course not the case and the forms that emerge should be understood as pre-existing in their integrity, although the ‘state’ to which they belonged was the subtle or animic order, and the ‘matter’ of the subtle order is not tangible in the way that gross or corporeal matter is tangible and visible, so that no imprint in the fossil record could be expected even though these forms were as ‘real’ in the subtle state as they became when they transitioned into the ‘solid’ state.

[1] Burckhartd, Titus. The Essential Titus Burckhardt: Reflections on Sacred Art, Faiths, and Civilizations (Perennial Philosophy Series) (p. 35). World Wisdom. Kindle Edition.


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